The Power of Personally Laying off Staff
BMWs are fine on the road. But “Bitching, Moaning, and Whining” can be avoided at the water cooler or on gossip sites like Glassdoor when you are laying off staff.
I’ve heard of cases where mass redundancies were effected by SMS; where groups were lined up ahead of an ‘execution room’; where staff waited nervously for a phone call to down tools and present to HR (yes, all these have happened.)
I firmly believe that if you hire personally, you must ‘fire’ personally.
‘Firing’ personally involves handling any termination notice in a way that:
- Protects you legally;
- Treats departing employees in a dignified and humane way;
- Helps make the departing employee feel as good as they are going to feel in an awkward, stressful, emotionally fraught, and delicate situation;
- Reduces the chances of the departing employee feeling worse than they need to;
- Reduces the chances of disengaging fellow work colleagues who are staying on at the employer.
The Power of Laying off with Clarity
In the context of you complying with your local employment laws: once the employee is advised there is a change of their employment, it’s important to be clear in any notice discussion and then confirming the points of that discussion in a formal termination letter including these guidelines:
- Individually address the termination letter to each person being laid off;
- Sign each letter personally;
- Confirm that the decision is a hard one and that sadly the decision is final;
- Provide a clear outline of all statutory and contractual entitlements, benefits, and final pay;
- Provide a firm end-date;
- Advise (for those employees working through a notice period) what behaviours might be acceptable: e.g. you should allow people to go for interviews for other roles, but it would be expected that they provide appropriate notice to you;
- Explain what would be deemed fair performance standards during the notice period;
- That the departing staff members redundancy or exit is in accordance with applicable specific legislation;
- Where Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and outplacement services are offered, provide welcome packs from the providers;
- Describe the level of EAP and outplacement services the departing employee is being accorded;
- Provide the name of the EAP and outplacement firm and the consultants/coaches with whom they are assigned to work;
By following these tips, exiting employees are less likely to have the ‘BMW’ driven down the aisles of the workstations or at the water cooler, or more importantly online via Glassdoor or similar gossip sites.
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